Video Game / War of the Human Tanks

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War of the Human Tanks is the first game in the Japan-based series Human Tanks, Charge! developed by Yakiniku Banzai in December 2008. It was localized by Fruitbat Factory for western release on the 14th of September 2012 on Steam, with the sequel - ALTeR - being released on the 13th of February 2015 on the same platform. So far, it is a trilogy though the fourth game in the series was announced at Comiket 82 in August 2012.

The consists of story-driven single-player hybrid turn-based/real-time strategy games where the player controls a force of the titular Human Tanks against an AI opponent. Combat is fast-moving and lethal, with most units going down in one hit, and is heavily affected by the Fog of War. In between levels, the player can develop and build new, better Human Tanks and modules to grow stronger. Story-wise, the games' themes generally revolve around the Human Tanks, the unshakably loyal almost-but-not-quite-human mass-produced soldiers whom the Empire of Japon and Kingdom of Japon field in their war for control of the land.

War of the Human Tanks places the player in the role of the recently unfrozen Lieutenant Shoutaro Daihon'ei, commanding officer of the 4th Armored Corps. You are tasked with assembling and leading an army of appropriately named Human Tanks against the Kingdom of Japon to turn around the war in favour of your own faction, the Empire of Japon, while avoiding deadly pitfalls and plots along the way.

The sequel, War of the Human Tanks - ALTeR is told from the point of view of the Kingdom's Lieutenant Alter Matsuyukishiro. Tasked by her cousin the Queen with removing a traitor in their ranks and staving off a mounting Imperial offensive, Alter must also work out her connection to Elle, a Human Tank whom she befriended as a child and has now mysteriously returned.


This game provides examples of:

  • Always Accurate Attack: Anything with the snipe ability, sniper and fighting tanks in particular, are guaranteed to hit even tanks with the evade ability. In fact, they're the only ones that can hit enemies with the perfect evade skill.
  • Attack Of The50ft Whatever: Some types of Human Tanks qualify as this, most notably the Gekkou and giant Imperial Shock Tank deployed in Nagoya. In ALTeR, the Albatross is most definitely this.
  • Action Bomb: Imperial Pochi units and Kingdom Piko Piko units.
  • Ambition Is Evil: The three Lt. Generals.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Radiotoxic particles.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: For a game largely based around Super Deformed Androids killing each other, the games are surprisingly dark.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Liselotte in the first game, Megumin in ALTeR.
  • Boxing Battler: Used by fighting tanks, who specialise in quick and precise attacks.
  • Breather Episode: Episodes 5, 8 and 11.
  • Brother-Sister Team: Choko and Shoutaro.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Shoutaro isn't captain for no reason. His laziness is a result of the Lt. Generals booting him from their circle on a pretext as they feared his growing influence.
  • Brutal Bonus Level
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: The 4th Armored Corps. Shoutaro spends his days watching Anime and playing Video Games, and does little actual planning and army organisation. And yet, the 4th Armoured Corps have a very high success rate in Combat. Shoutaro is so effective that before freezing, he earned the feared moniker of "The General from Hell". Not that Liselotte believes him when this is explained to her.
  • Butt Monkey:
  • Casual Danger Dialog: Shoutaro almost always.
  • Consummate Professional: Liselotte.
  • Cool Sword: Imperial Sekigahara units and Kingdom Milua units. Miou's triples as a BFS and Laser Blade
  • Cutting Off the Branches: Given that the Daihon'ei corps fights for the kingdom in ALTeR, the "The Will To Fight" ending is canon, although Miou is also back with the Corps, which doesn't happen in that ending.
  • Cyborg: Elle is half human, which shows in her eyes only being half as swirley as other human tanks'. Shoutaro might also qualify with his human tank implants.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The dark tanks, while initially antagonistic, aren't any more malevolent than normal tanks. You can later build them yourself. Even Halberstadt, a massive tank that looks like it was dreamt up by a dead god, only fights you to protect Shiro.
  • Deadly Euphemism: "Fell silent."
  • Deadpan Snarker: Shoutaro especially, being both listless and sarcastic. Everyone does get a few shots in though.
  • Deconstruction: Of Moe surprisingly enough. The Human Tanks will do anything their superiors order them to do, simply to make them happy. Anything. This reaches a head in ALTeR, with the Albatross Multicore Human Tank - a giant Human Tank stitched together from hundreds of Human Tanks - who were all willing volunteers who wanted to be useful to their superiors.
  • Decapitated Army: If either side loses all of their Command Units, they instantly lose.
  • Died Happily Ever After: Every Human Tank in death believes that they were of service to their superiors and die in rapture.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Mix-up Megumin.
  • The Empire: The Empire of Japon.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • In both Kurara route endings, Shoutaro ends up going against Imperial forces alongside the remaining Kingdom forces.
    • And in the "Daihon'ei Rebel Unit" epilogue, it turns out General B and Toyonoshima both opted to elect Shoutaro sole General of the Imperial forces (and effectively Emperor) rather than let Sasagusa (General A) seize power all for himself.
  • The Engineer: Choko, Elle.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Subverted. Kurara is a princess in the first game, but never referred to as such.
  • Evil Old Folks: General B. Also Final Boss of the "Daihon'ei Rebel Unit" ending.
  • Exotic Eye Designs: Most human tanks can be identified by their swirly red eyes. The exceptions are Elle, whose eyes are swirly around where her pupils would be, but solid otherwise, and Yuki, who is a hologram projected by the human tank Shiro.
  • Fastball Special: 08 attacks by throwing things, most prominantly other human tanks.
  • Friendly Sniper: The deployable sniper units. The royal ones just look so damn happy, and the imperial models (sans Tougo) have a perpetually relaxed expression.
  • Genetic Memory: If you rebuild Masamune, you see a cutscene where everyone treats her as the same person and she appears to remember the crew, despite having been effectively dead for months (assuming you rebuild her late in the game, which is likely given the amount of research required) and being in a completely new body. You can then build multiple copies of her.
  • Glory Hound: General C A.K.A. Lt. General Toyonoshima, Final Boss of "The Will to Fight" ending.
  • Guide Dang It: ALTeR's last level. Killed 150 or more units before reaching the final episode, or worse, 300 or more? Congratulations, you just made things much harder for yourself!
  • Improbable Accessory Effect: Red Mufflers. Heshiko's account explicitly states that they allow her to recover from exploding somehow.
  • Karmic Death: Sasagusa and General B, the two main causes of the Daihon'ei siblings suffering, are both killed in some empty field far from battle in "Daihon'ei Rebel Unit".
  • Killer Rabbit: Why are we fighting Mr. Cat? Why is he kicking our collective asses?
  • The Kingdom: Averted as the Kingdom of Japon is the main opposition of the game. Subverted though, as the "true enemy" seems to be the Empire of Japon.
    • In ALTeR, the Kingdom of Japon becomes the protagonists.
  • Lost Food Grievance: Kurara in ALTeR demotes Megumi three whole ranks to Second Lieutenant for eating her custom order Mont Blanc cake. Megumi gets re-promoted at the end of the game, only to be busted down again (this time for eating Kurara's ramen).
  • Meaningful Name: Daihon'ei was the General Headquarters for the Japanese Imperial forces pre-1945.
  • Mildly Military: The 4th Armored Corps as introduced definitely do not appear professional at all. Lisolette actually physically assaults Shoutaro, a senior officer.
  • Multiple Endings:
    • A grand total of four possible endings in the original game.
    • ALTeR has just one, albeit with three variations depending on how many enemy tanks you've destroyed.
  • Mundane Utility:
    • Human Tanks doing laundry.
    • Human Tanks playing baseball.
    • Human tanks being used to go shopping. Liselotte is not amused.
  • Noodle Incident: A few show up in dialogue, though they are usually elaborated on in either main routes.
  • Nuke 'em: Shoutaro's iconic tactic, though with Pochi tanks instead of nuclear arms.
    • Radiotoxic Bomb modules
    • The massive Imperial Shock unit deployed in Nagoya.
  • Offscreen Moment of Crowning: In the "The Will to Fight" epilogue, Shoutaro is crowned Emperor of the Empire of Japon and Kurara is crowned Queen of the Kingdom of Japon.
  • The Reveal:
    • Miou was originally part of Daihon'ei's unit.
    • Shoutaro was betrayed and mortally wounded by his then-equals and only survived by becoming 20% Human Tank.
    • The Arc Speech "enemy" the Human Tanks are directed against are humans themselves by the grossly malformed Human Tank in the "Charge! Human Tanks" ending.
    • In ALTeR, The Albatross is the secret weapon the Imperial Army was working on all game, using stolen Royal technology.
  • Red Baron: The General from Hell.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Human Tanks
    • Though unlike most instances of the Trope, the eyes of a Human Tank are permanently red.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Human Tanks are effectively human enough to be regarded as physically stronger (though somewhat mentally deficient) humans. They are so akin to humans that Choko was able to save a dying Shoutaro by "fixing" him with parts of Human Tanks.
  • Sidequest Sidestory: The Great Cavern of Fuji in ALTeR features several new characters and has its own subplot that reveals the origin of the Human Tanks. In fact, it's several times longer than the main story.
  • Single Tear: Pochis and Piko Pikos have them because... well.
  • Super Prototype: Human tanks were originally developped not as superweapons, but to allow for war to be fought without human combatants. As a result, the researchers had to tone down the original models' Super Toughness. Two prototype tanks, 08 and Detritus, can be fought in the great cavern of Fuji.
  • Super Reflexes: Imperial Sekigahara units, Kingdom Milua units and Miou. Bonus levels take this Up to Eleven.
  • Team Chef: Liselotte.
  • Theme Naming: The Imperial Assault tank line is named after Japanese trains or pertaining to trains.
  • Too Powerful to Live: Heroic example as Shoutaro was dangerously close to being crowned Emperor after the war due to his successes so General A (Lt. General Sasagusa) set him up.
  • Turn-Based Tactics: Though turns come in real-time, commands are given in turns.
  • Undying Loyalty: Human Tanks for their superior. It doesn't matter if they don't have human rights and are considered completely disposable. All they strive and die for is praise from their superior.
    • Liselotte even discusses this with Shoutaro regarding loyalty to the country. She ends up gravely wounded in the "Charge! Human Tanks" ending by saving Shoutaro's life despite her standing orders to kill him if he were to go against the Empire.
  • Videogame Cruelty Potential: Go ahead, shoot Shiro if you dare.
  • Wave Motion Gun: Any Human Tank that uses a laser based weapon.
  • We Have Reserves: Losing units at most sets you back a lot of supplies, especially if equipped with modules but they can always be remade. You do have the option of developing modules to ensure their safe return.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: The use of Human Tanks as unswervingly loyal, mass cannon fodder is a major theme of the series.
  • Woman in White: Yuki. Her real body, Shiro, even has white hair to match.
  • You Have Failed Me: Sasagusa to General B in the "Daihon'ei Rebel Unit" ending.

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